All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz says he showed no symptoms of being sick before testing positive for the coronavirus, and he continues to have no signs of illness since going into isolation.
Mitchell, speaking to ABC’s “Good Morning America” in an interview broadcast Monday, also revealed that it “took awhile for me to kind of cool off” at Rudy Gobert, his All-Star teammate who was the first NBA player to have a positive test for the virus revealed. Gobert has said in recent days that he did not take the threat of the illness seriously.
“I’m glad he’s doing OK. I’m glad I’m doing well,” said Mitchell, who did not say if he has spoken to Gobert in recent days. He has seen videos Gobert has posted to social media updating fans about his own condition.
Meanwhile, NBA teams and officials spent Monday continuing to process information being shared by infectious disease experts and others. Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks shared a video telling fans that “we’re all going to get through this together.”
Mitchell said he continues to feel fine, and that the worst physical issue he has had during this process was going through the test for COVID-19 itself. He said getting swabbed was so uncomfortable that it left him in tears.
“I’m asymptomatic,” Mitchell said. “I don’t have any symptoms. I could walk down the street [and] if it wasn’t public knowledge that I was sick, you wouldn’t know it. I think that’s the scariest part about this virus. You may seem fine, be fine. And you never know who you may be talking to, who they’re going home to.”
Mitchell’s father, Donovan Mitchell Sr., works for the New York Mets and was tested last week as well. Mitchell Sr.’s test was negative.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. In mainland China, where the virus first broke out, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.
The virus has been blamed for more than 60 deaths through Sunday in the U.S. alone, and more than 6,500 worldwide.
Gobert’s positive test was disclosed Wednesday and Mitchell’s on Thursday. Christian Wood of the Detroit Pistons learned on Saturday he has tested positive for COVID-19 as well. Wood played against the Jazz last week.
Gobert — thinking at the time he was making a joke — touched a few Jazz reporters’ digital recording devices at a media availability March 9, two days before his positive test became public and forced the NBA to suspend the season. It cannot, however, be concluded he is responsible for Mitchell or Wood contracting the virus.
Mitchell said he has been studying his old highlights during his time in isolation, and he insisted that if the Jazz had to start a seven-game playoff series Monday he would feel able to play.
“It’s kind of bringing back good memories, but you miss the game,” Mitchell said.
He could miss the game for much longer. The NBA’s original plan was to shut down for 30 days, though new guidance issued Sunday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested that all gatherings of 50 people or more be postponed or canceled for eight weeks — which, barring an adjustment in that plan, almost certainly means no major sports in North America will resume until mid-May at the earliest.
Mitchell also said he is partnering with the Salt Lake City Granite School District to help provide meals to as many as 10,040 food-insecure children per day during the unplanned school shutdown there. The Jazz said that district has 88 schools, most of them elementary schools.
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and his wife, Ayesha Curry, have announced a similar initiative, partnering with a food bank in Oakland, California, to provide as many as 1 million meals for students affected by school shutdowns there. Many other NBA players also say they will donate cash to ease the effect the league’s shutdown will have on arena workers.
“For parents who may not have the money … I think it’s a scary feeling for them and I want to be able to make sure that they’re set and they understand that guys like myself and whoever may have their back,” Mitchell said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.